Questions about Iconic Character Art?


Lost Omens Campaign Setting General Discussion

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.....I've been dreading ro ask, but one of the damphir is the blood of the night book. I think it was the nosferatu blooded one. but why does he remind me of Adolf Himmler?( yes the jerk from ww2, and jerk is being nice)

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Steelfiredragon wrote:
.....I've been dreading ro ask, but one of the damphir is the blood of the night book. I think it was the nosferatu blooded one. but why does he remind me of Adolf Himmler?( yes the jerk from ww2, and jerk is being nice)

I don't have the book in front of me.

Do you mean Heidrich Himmler or Adolf Hitler?

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Steelfiredragon wrote:
.....I've been dreading ro ask, but one of the damphir is the blood of the night book. I think it was the nosferatu blooded one. but why does he remind me of Adolf Himmler?( yes the jerk from ww2, and jerk is being nice)

Not my artwork.

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captain yesterday wrote:

I switched to pathfinder because of the iconic artwork. :-)

And for a blast to the past question.

What was your favorite Eberron cover to do, or which one turned out better than you expected. :-)

Thanks very much;

Favourite Eberron cover is probably Secrets of Xen'Drik.... Or maybe Forge of War. I really enjoyed illustrating warforged characters.

Favourite AP cover by another artist... That's a tricky choice as there are so many good ones; The Armageddon Echo by Steve Prescott.... Or The Hill Giant's Pledge by Jesper Ejsing.


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When I design and draw my own characters I'm always excited and scared at the same time when they are portrayed by a different person. Excited because I like to see how other people sees them, scared because they could not get it done right.

Has it happened to you anytime? Thought «this view of the character doesn't match mine at all» or «this isn't accurate at all»? Also, what is your favorite portrait of any of the iconics made from another artist?

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Kileanna wrote:

When I design and draw my own characters I'm always excited and scared at the same time when they are portrayed by a different person. Excited because I like to see how other people sees them, scared because they could not get it done right.

Has it happened to you anytime? Thought «this view of the character doesn't match mine at all» or «this isn't accurate at all»? Also, what is your favorite portrait of any of the iconics made from another artist?

One of the things I learnt a long time ago when I became a commercial artist was; The product that an artist contributes to is always more important than the artist.

Consequently, it never matters to me that a fellow artist will depict one of my character designs slightly differently within that product. A degree of consistency is required when illustration a brand or an IP. (Depicting copyrighted designs outside of a product is a different matter) However, it's always good when an art director allows artistic freedom of interpretation within given parameters.
Lots of artists frequently deviate from my original character designs within the pages of Pathfinder products. And I notice any discrepancy straight away. But that doesn't mean it's bad art.
There are a lot of very talented artists contributing artwork to Pathfinder.
Perhaps in this instance, there are too many to choose from to be able to narrow it down to a favourite. In a lot of cases the name of the artist is not apparent.


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How many drafts of an iconic does it normally take you to finalise a concept or come up with a final depiction? Your designs seem incredibly detailed to my untrained eye, and I wondered whether you layered your designs as you progressed - say starting with a basic body then adding clothes then accessories - or does it come together in some other way?

As an aside, will you be at UK Games Expo this year? I regretted not buying a print of my favourite iconic, Quinn, two years ago and had resolved to buy one last year but it seems you weren't attending. Might I have the chance this year?

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golfdeltafoxtrot wrote:

How many drafts of an iconic does it normally take you to finalise a concept or come up with a final depiction? Your designs seem incredibly detailed to my untrained eye, and I wondered whether you layered your designs as you progressed - say starting with a basic body then adding clothes then accessories - or does it come together in some other way?

As an aside, will you be at UK Games Expo this year? I regretted not buying a print of my favourite iconic, Quinn, two years ago and had resolved to buy one last year but it seems you weren't attending. Might I have the chance this year?

I usually include all of a character's equipment in the first draft. I have a fairly good idea about what they might carry once I receive the art description.

There are a few things I usually include as standard for a medieval character;

At least one pouch; Medieval people didn't have pockets. If you had any belongings, they were normally carried in a pouch, purse or satchel.

A knife or dagger; Pretty much everyone (Apart from slaves) carried a knife of some sort. Knives were considered to be a versatile tool.

Weapons; An RPG character usually has at least one melee weapon. (Some have more than one, depending upon the character class)
An RPG character often has some sort of missile weapon (but not always)
Taking these basic aspects into account, I can start to build around the figure - depending on their armour, character class, character race.
I can explore different ways of storing and suspension of each item - depending upon the item.
For example; I know of a few methods to storing a bow - (Again, depending upon the type of bow) Scabbards have numerous ways of hanging and suspending.

These aspects are all worked out at the beginning so I know where they all go on the body. Sometimes I might have to shift things around but it usually takes place at thumbnail stage.

Thanks for visiting me at UK Games Expo 2015. I hope you had a great weekend. Sorry, I won't be attending UK Games Expo 2017. I have a history - thing going on that weekend instead.


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I was in high school when Peter Jackman's <i>Lord of the Rings</i> movies and I may have watched too many of the special features on those extended edition DVDs. Accordingly, I've something of an obsession with expressing deep worldbuilding (sub-creation, as Professor Tolkien might say) through the material culture and visual details of the world.

Thus, my questions (I tend to ask every question like six times in different ways >.< Please bear with me):

Having done so much art for Pathfinder (and being the, ahem, iconic artist for the game), have you started to develop an understanding of the history of fashion in Golarion? Do you ever build in cultural connections among the characters you draw (like, connecting them because of culture rather than for any of the strictly artistic reasons you might repeat a visual theme)? If so, what's the most surprising, in your opinion?

Have you noticed any intentional or unintentional worldbuilding across your pictures? Or, maybe, have you noticed any later elements of Golarion's worldbuilding that might be traced back to a detail in one of your pieces?

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Pope Uncommon the Dainty wrote:

Having done so much art for Pathfinder (and being the, ahem, iconic artist for the game), have you started to develop an understanding of the history of fashion in Golarion? Do you ever build in cultural connections among the characters you draw (like, connecting them because of culture rather than for any of the strictly artistic reasons you might repeat a visual theme)? If so, what's the most surprising, in your opinion?

Have you noticed any intentional or unintentional worldbuilding across your pictures? Or, maybe, have you noticed any later elements of Golarion's worldbuilding that might be traced back to a detail in one of your pieces?

Since the introduction of Golorian as a dedicated campaign setting, I've tried to consistently introduce visual elements which recognisably belong to a specific culture, species or region. Creating the Iconic characters and working on the Adventure Path covers has greatly assisted my exploration into the creation of cultural themes. Over the years I've been able to develop specific looks that have become associated with a particular aspect from the world setting. So at a glance the viewer can immediately tell what region a character comes from or what culture they belong to. Even what deity they worship. (But still at the same time allowing individual artists to express ideas from their imagination within the theme)

It's an important part of world-building and is an on-going project considering the enormous diversity within the Inner Sea.
And it's lots of fun.


Were there ever any specific characters or setting within Pathfinder that you wanted to personally design? Have you ever expressed that desire with your employers?

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Reduxist wrote:
Were there ever any specific characters or setting within Pathfinder that you wanted to personally design? Have you ever expressed that desire with your employers?

The Pathfinder campaign setting is so varied and exciting that there have been lots of aspects I would love a chance to illustrate.

As a freelance illustrator, I very rarely get to choose the subject matter I depict. These things are largely dictated by the products the client is creating. Fortunately, the titles I get to work on have afforded me the opportunity to explore new aspects of the campaign setting. These designs have then often been incorporated elsewhere.
If I had to narrow it down to what I'd like to do then it'd probably something along the lines of "culture - building". I'd like to create more in-depth designs on some of the races and various Golorian cultures.
Things like archetypes, costume, armour, weapons, equipment, etc.
It's real "rabbit hole" stuff that an artist could get completely lost in.
Whether I actually find the time to do that is another matter. :)


Rez!
Is our friend socothbenoth getting artwork(/stats?) in the near future?

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Potato disciple wrote:

Rez!

Is our friend socothbenoth getting artwork(/stats?) in the near future?

Apologies, I'm not at liberty to discuss the details or subject matter of upcoming projects due to Client NDAs.


Crapadoodle. Now I'm inrigued!

Dark Archive

Wayne given how prolific you've been on multiple game and fantasy settings, how do you keep different settings from merging in artistic feel? So that each has its own unique style and flare? Have you ever had to redo an art piece because you feel it "fits" better in a different setting than the one it was done for?


Zova seems to have an aztec feel to her. Was that intentional?

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ulgulanoth wrote:
Wayne given how prolific you've been on multiple game and fantasy settings, how do you keep different settings from merging in artistic feel? So that each has its own unique style and flare? Have you ever had to redo an art piece because you feel it "fits" better in a different setting than the one it was done for?

Fortunately, the IPs I mostly work on at the moment are all fairly distinctive from each other. (Pathfinder, Magic & Hearthstone) In my head the settings are visually separated, so I don't deliberately take aspects from one and use it in the other. I've usually got a pretty good idea of what I'm going to illustrate, or the type of visual aspect I'm going to use for a specific setting. Some of the IPs have comprehensive style guides which help to define the look or visual requirements for the IP.

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Kryzbyn wrote:
Zova seems to have an aztec feel to her. Was that intentional?

Should have a write up for Zova later this month.

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It was great seeing you at Lucca today, I’m still a bit star struck! My question is, with the iconics, were there some that were easier to come up with than others? If so, is there a specific type of character that comes to you more naturally, or a conceptual genre that you feel more at ease with?

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Daniel Yeatman wrote:
It was great seeing you at Lucca today, I’m still a bit star struck! My question is, with the iconics, were there some that were easier to come up with than others? If so, is there a specific type of character that comes to you more naturally, or a conceptual genre that you feel more at ease with?

Thanks for visiting my booth at Lucca. It was a pleasure to meet you. Hope you had a great weekend.

I have more of an affinity with combat - orientated designs than magic - based character designs.
Probably because I have more of a mental library to draw upon in that aspect.


What was your favorite animal companion/familiar to draw?

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bixnoodles wrote:
What was your favorite animal companion/familiar to draw?

Gimcrak the Quasit. The familiar of Areelu Vorlesh (From City of Locusts - Wrath of the Righteous Part 6, AP #78)

A demon - imp with a cut-throat razor. What's not to like? ;)


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Wayne, I summon thee from thy slumber to pose to you not one, but TWO questions:

First, which artist would you say influenced you the most where the fantasy genre is concerned?

Second, to keep it topic... have you or Paizo considered alternative Iconics? That is, Amirion the Barbarian or Valeria the Fighter?

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Phoebus Alexandros wrote:

Wayne, I summon thee from thy slumber to pose to you not one, but TWO questions:

First, which artist would you say influenced you the most where the fantasy genre is concerned?

Second, to keep it topic... have you or Paizo considered alternative Iconics? That is, Amirion the Barbarian or Valeria the Fighter?

Zzzzzzz, Whu? Wha?... WHO DARES WAKe.....Oh, right!

I had to give your first question a great deal of consideration, because there are a number of artists who've had a significant impact at different stages of my life and artistic development.
After careful consideration, I'd have to say the artist that had the most influence on me has been Mike Mignola.

If I were to work on the concept of opposite gender versions of the Iconics, I'd have to depict them as if they were from an alternate dimension where they were the opposite gender. Rather than depicting them as if they'd just put on a Girdle of Opposite Gender. The latter would just be a case of depicting the characters as "cross dressed".
Most of the Iconics costumes transfer well to the opposite gender with some like Kyra/Kryan or Ezren/Ezra not needing any modification at all. Most of the other Iconics just require a degree of feminisation/masculinisation to their costumes to suit the change in gender. Such as armour shapes or the style of their robes. Harsk/Harske would be beardless and Lini/Lini would be bearded. The Iconics that would require most change would be Seoni/Seon, Sajan,Sajane and Amiri/Amirion. I'd have to alter Seoni's dress to look more robelike to avoid Seon looking like a dude in a dress. Sajane would require covering up around the chest area. Whilst Amirion could show off his manly pecs more.

Not that I've given the subject much thought........

Nor, I am able to confirm or deny if sketches of opposite gender versions of; Valeros, Seoni, Merisiel, Kyra and Ezren already exist.


Do you have specific heights (like 5'11) for the iconic characters or just general ones?

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deuxhero wrote:
Do you have specific heights (like 5'11) for the iconic characters or just general ones?

The Iconic characters have all been illustrated to scale, but I haven't allocated a specific height to each character. It's more like a height band of 2 -3 inches.

Seelah is taller than Valeros. But Valeros is taller than Ezren, Sajan, Kyra and Seoni.


Was Seoni's look inspired by Hild from the manga and anime Oh My Goddess?

They have similar hair color and style, tan skin, facial tattoos, exposed outfits with trailing ribbons and so on.

Hild Reference.

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Wheeljack wrote:

Was Seoni's look inspired by Hild from the manga and anime Oh My Goddess?

They have similar hair color and style, tan skin, facial tattoos, exposed outfits with trailing ribbons and so on.

Hild Reference.

Seoni wasn't inspired by Hilda.

Any perceived similarity is purely coincidental.
"Something always looks like something else to someone else".

A written account detailing my design process and inspirations for all of the 2.0 iconic characters will be available at some point in the near future.


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Concerning Karzoug's design, one thing has had me curious for quite a while, is he supposed to have two pony tails? I'm sure there has been one picture of him with his back to the audience where he has two, though I could be wrong.


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Monkeybox wrote:
Concerning Karzoug's design, one thing has had me curious for quite a while, is he supposed to have two pony tails? I'm sure there has been one picture of him with his back to the audience where he has two, though I could be wrong.

He does, check this picture on PathfinderWiki.


Do you have an approximate age for Yoon?

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Adjoint wrote:
Monkeybox wrote:
Concerning Karzoug's design, one thing has had me curious for quite a while, is he supposed to have two pony tails? I'm sure there has been one picture of him with his back to the audience where he has two, though I could be wrong.
He does, check this picture on PathfinderWiki.

I originally designed him with two ponytails positioned one above the other. The top ponytail is tied with a decorative sleeve. The lower ponytail is tied with a leather chord.

Other artists may have interpreted this design differently.
Consistency is one of the reasons why I was asked to create back views of the 2e Iconic characters.

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deuxhero wrote:
Do you have an approximate age for Yoon?

The art description never specified an approximate age, other than "child". You'd have to ask Mark Seifter.


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I'm 8 and a quarter! Or at least I was when you first met me. Am I still the same age four years later like all the other iconics? Except Ezren. He looks about the same but did you know he was s'posed to be like 40 before? And now he's older and stuff.


That was xx15 yes ?
That's going to be an interesting update if and when it happens, from 8 to probably at least 15.
Of course, do iconics even age ?


Wouldn't she be 12, not 15? Sorry, 12 and a quarter...


Wayne Reynolds wrote:


Consistency is one of the reasons why I was asked to create back views of the 2e Iconic characters.

Will we be able to see These in the future? I would love to have the full view of what all the characters look like, front to back!

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DerNils wrote:
Wayne Reynolds wrote:


Consistency is one of the reasons why I was asked to create back views of the 2e Iconic characters.
Will we be able to see These in the future? I would love to have the full view of what all the characters look like, front to back!

Yes. Back view sketches for most of the Iconic characters have already been previewed in the "Iconic Evolution" Paizo Blog clips.


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Will we see sketches of the updated Advanced Player's Guide iconics in the playtest document, or maybe in some blog posts leading up to the book's release?

It was really fun following them prior to the 2e playtest, so I was wondering if something similar was planned for the 2e Advanced Player's Guide.

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RiverMesa wrote:

Will we see sketches of the updated Advanced Player's Guide iconics in the playtest document, or maybe in some blog posts leading up to the book's release?

It was really fun following them prior to the 2e playtest, so I was wondering if something similar was planned for the 2e Advanced Player's Guide.

Alas! I am but a freelance contributor. I only create the pics.

It's the talented Paizo Design Team who decides what to put into the APG 2e playtest document.
But I hope they put the new sketches in. :)


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Darth Game Master wrote:
Wouldn't she be 12, not 15? Sorry, 12 and a quarter...

If the kineticist came out today, yes. But the APG is a year away, and I don't expect we'll get those big classes heavy book every year.

So I doubt Yoon is making a come-back before 2022. Maybe 21 if Paizo gets real crazy with their schedule.
That said even going from 8 to 12 would be a massive update.

While I'm here, those art panels from the cons were really fun. Shame they tend to end with "oh god we're out of time" ^^.

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Nyerkh wrote:


While I'm here, those art panels from the cons were really fun. Shame they tend to end with "oh god we're out of time" ^^.

I'm very glad that you liked the panels.

I agree that an hour is not often enough time, given the scope of visual material from Pathfinder and Golarion that we could talk about.

Erik, Sarah and I have talked about the possibility of holding more hour - long panels at future cons.


My favorite iconic is amari.She seems to be used when fighting dragons and giants.
I want to ask what was xin design inspration for his clockwork form.

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Paizoxmi wrote:

My favorite iconic is amari.She seems to be used when fighting dragons and giants.

I want to ask what was xin design inspration for his clockwork form.

The concept for the clockwork version of Xin was very unusual. There wasn't really any frame of reference I knew of the draw upon as a starting block. Consequently, The only way I could think of to begin visualising the design was to make lots of rough sketches that just consisted of combinations of random shapes until I found one that seemed to work. It was then a case of refining those shapes. Adding details and figuring out some method of locomotion to create the final form.

It was a challenge, but fun to work on.


What was Amiri 1st edition design inspiration for her Red Sonja like costume?
How did her body shape change to sectond edition?


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Hi Wayne - I wanted to add my voice to those saying how big your art plays a role in my choice of playing Pathfinder. It's an increasingly wonderful setting but without you and the other great artists featured in the products it would be so much poorer and less attractive. You folks really bring it to life!

I also have a small question - I'm very curious about Valeros' shield. I've never seen a shield like that anywhere! What was the inspiration? Can you talk about it a bit?

Thanks again for adding the spark of great art to a great game!

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Paizoxmi wrote:

What was Amiri 1st edition design inspiration for her Red Sonja like costume?

Comparing Amiri to Red Sonja is like comparing Mad Max - Fury Road to Smokey and the Bandit II on the premise that both movies have cars in them.

I've spoken in Paizo podcasts and posted previously on this thread about the design concept behind Amiri's armour. But I guess not everyone's seen it.

Here's an edited version;

Amiri’s armour is based upon Ancient European barbarian culture concepts about magical protection in battle. These coincide with a visual statement of just how utterly fearless these people were in battle by leaving parts of the body deliberately exposed. (in some cases this resulted in warriors entering battle completely naked) These concepts may be utterly alien to a modern Western way of thinking and fighting. I can understand why Amiri’s armour configuration is often misunderstood when viewed with 21st Century cultural preconceptions. But these practices beautifully summarise a barbarian culture with their own set of unusual beliefs and reckless nature.
Coincidentally, the armour configuration kinda fit in with some historical two-handed weapon techniques. Particularly the great axe (Also known as a Dane Axe) There are accounts of Viking and Saxon Huscarls charging forwards swinging a long hafted axe in a figure of “8”. In theory, this would create a constantly moving area of protection around the front of the body provided by the constantly moving weapon. An opponent would conceivably have to time their attack just right in order to stab someone fighting in this style.
I surmised that she’d mainly want heavier armour on her arms and legs. Her arms and legs would be the places where she’d mostly be getting hit if she was swinging that 2 handed sword in a figure “8”. The combat style and armour configuration may be pure conjecture but it works for a high fantasy setting based on imagination.

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Roswynn wrote:

Hi Wayne - I wanted to add my voice to those saying how big your art plays a role in my choice of playing Pathfinder. It's an increasingly wonderful setting but without you and the other great artists featured in the products it would be so much poorer and less attractive. You folks really bring it to life!

I also have a small question - I'm very curious about Valeros' shield. I've never seen a shield like that anywhere! What was the inspiration? Can you talk about it a bit?

Thanks again for adding the spark of great art to a great game!

Thanks for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it.

I created over 100 potential designs for Valeros's shield. I must've completely filled 3 pages in my sketch pad with minute thumbnail designs too.
Firstly, myself and the Paizo design team didn't really want Valeros's shield to look like anything out of real-life history. Whilst I often take inspiration from real-world history, I change it to reflect a high fantasy setting based on imagination.
So recognisable shapes like the round shield, kite shield and heater weren't used. Even so, there were still a wide range of possibilities and variations to explore.

Some of the more complicated designs were discounted to make it easier for other creative outlets to replicate. So a much simpler shape and device was preferred.

Valeros is something of a packrat. His equipment is designed to look like it comes from a variety of cultures. Consequently, A more angular shape seemed to work better in contrast to the curved shapes featured in Valeros's armour.

The colour combination wasn't decided upon till I started painting the cover art for the playtest. A red shield rim showed up the best in the surrounding cold palette. So red it was.

Whilst a heck of a lot of work went into one shield design, it was a lot of fun. And on the plus side, I now have over 100 shield designs waiting to draw upon in the future.


Wayne Reynolds wrote:

Thanks for the kind words. I sincerely appreciate it.

I created over 100 potential designs for Valeros's shield. I must've completely filled 3 pages in my sketch pad with minute thumbnail designs too.
Firstly, myself and the Paizo design team didn't really want Valeros's shield to look like anything out of real-life history. Whilst I often take inspiration from real-world history, I change it to reflect a high fantasy setting based on imagination.
So recognisable shapes like the round shield, kite shield and heater weren't used. Even so, there were still a wide range of possibilities and variations to explore.

Some of the more complicated designs were discounted to make it easier for other creative outlets to replicate. So a much simpler shape and device was preferred.

Valeros is something of a packrat. His equipment is designed to look like it comes from a variety of cultures. Consequently, A more angular shape seemed to work better in contrast to the curved shapes featured in Valeros's armour.

The colour combination wasn't decided upon till I started painting the cover art for the playtest. A red shield rim showed up the best in the surrounding cold palette. So red it was.

Whilst a heck of a lot of work went into one shield design, it was a lot of fun. And on the plus side, I now have over 100 shield designs waiting to draw upon in the future.

So that's why his shield seems so unique - it's because it is! Thanks for your reply, Wayne, I always love to get some insight into an artist's creative process. Most of all as good an artist as you (I love how much thought and research you always put behind everything you draw!).

I have another question, if that's okay with you.

Regarding Amiri (great ideas about her appearance in the comment above!), there was a lot of resistance in the player base to the idea that an "18 Strength barbarian" would look so relatively thin and unlike a really strong generic female athlete (and there was almost none to the idea that Valeros, who's not bulging with muscles either, most probably has a similar Strength, in-game, but I'll leave it at that).

I think you remember the rants and counter-rants, and I know it was unpleasant, so I'll totally accept a "no comment" reply, but, if you feel like telling us, what's your point of view in all this?

(I have my theories, but it would be nice to read your thoughts, if you feel like).

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